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CRM, SUPPLY CHAIN AND OTHER TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS.

For manufacturing companies, operational efficiency is the "holy grail" -- a cherished goal that is crucial to success in a global marketplace. Through comprehensive logistics solutions and effective supply chain management, organizations throughout the Americas are reducing their costs, while improving their responsiveness to customer needs.

Solutions providers like UPS, Tecsys Latin America and i2 Technologies Ibero-America assist Latin American organizations in understanding their supply chain relationships and creating operational structures and procedures that allow them to provide better service to their customers. As expectations for fast service and quality products continue to rise, so does the need for state-of-theart solutions that help companies get closer to their customers. Here are examples:

UPS expands Latin service

United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's largest express delivery company, has expanded its air network in Latin America and is offering more delivery options to its customers. UPS now has 21 air gateways throughout Latin America and operates nearly 200 daily flight segments with 15 UPS dedicated aircraft.

As a result of the air network enhancements, UPS recently expanded its portfolio of services to include UPS Expedited Service to Colombia, Honduras and Guatemala. In order to meet the growing export demand in Brazil, UPS recently dedicated a widebody aircraft to complement its existing air capacity and signed an agreement with Expresso Mercurio to provide pickup and delivery solutions for the southern region of Brazil.

Now that 90 percent of the population of the region is covered by UPS browntails, UPS customers have the ability to ship documents between most countries in the region within 24 hours and small packages in 48 hours or less. We are offering earlier delivery times and later pickup times for express shipments, providing our customers with added flexibility and reliability," said John Ripley, district industrial engineering manager for Latin America.

"We are helping to support the growth of Latin America's economies," added Ripley, "by offering high quality, enhanced service options and improved shipping solutions. As one of the largest shippers in the region, we help Latin businesses reach their customers worldwide."

Later this summer, UPS will move into its new state-of-the art $30 million Latin American gateway at Miami International Airport, which will further enhance package handling and shipment times throughout the region and in South Florida.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS is the world's largest express delivery company serving more than 200 countries and territories. With 359,000 employees, the company reported in 2000 revenues of US$ 29.8 billion, operating a volume of 13.6 million packages a day. For more information, see www.ups.com.

Tecsys Latin America: New force in distribution and logistics technologies

Industry-leading companies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are turning to Tecsys Latin America (TLA) for supply chain management solutions. "We offer best-of-class distribution and logistics solutions, including order management, warehouse management and transportation management," says Gregor Nassief, president and CEO. "We help manufacturers, distributors, third-party logistics operators (3PLs) and retailers reduce their cost of operations and improve customer service."

TLA has more than 50 customers utilizing its software and services at 200-plus locations across the region, including Fersan, the largest agro-chemicals operation in the Caribbean; Matosantos Commercial, Puerto Rico's largest supplier to last-food companies; VenAmerican, Venezuela's largest distributor of auto-parts; and Ofixpres, Colombia's fastest growing office supplies distributor, as well as Caracas-based Cealco and Bogota-based Almaviva, two of the region's largest 3PLs.

Multinationals like Colgate Palmolive and United Distillers & Vintners have also turned to TLA's EliteSeries as the optimal enterprise resource planning (ERP) and distribution management solution for their key wholesale distributors. 'Tecsys' EliteSeries is a very complete, versatile and stable product," says UDV's Information Technology Director Oscar Prays. "Without a doubt, it is a product designed and developed to support the operations of distribution companies. We also experienced a world-class implementation process where all of our goals were achieved in terms of quality and time."

TLA has more than 50 consulting and technology professionals in the region, with offices in Caracas, Bogota and Santiago, and new facilities planned for Brazil in 2001 and Mexico in early 2002. Its "best of breed" software partners include Tecsys Inc. in Canada, Paragon Software Systems plc in the United Kingdom and Provia Software in the United States. Recent technology innovations include a wireless Palm-based sales force automation product for today's mobile sales force, as well as a transportation management system utilizing digital maps to optimize vehicle routing and scheduling.

For more information, contact Adriana Romero, marketing manager, at adrianar(c)tecsys-lat.com or visit www.tecsyslatinamerica.com.

SSA Global Technologies

In today's increasingly volatile market place, companies need software solution providers to support and move them forward. By establishing the Open eRP approach to support its proven BPCS solution, SSA Global Technologies is taking the lead in providing the end-to-end capabilities that today's extended enterprises require.

BPCS (Business Planning and Control System) provides a solution that spans the manufacturing and industrial sectors, yet provides deep and specific functionality for highly defined vertical markets. In the automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer packaged goods, and food/beverage markets, no software solution provider has range of experience and installed customer base that comes close to BPCS.

"This is why over 6,000 companies worldwide have chosen to use the power of BPCS to compete at maximum effectiveness," says Dr. Oscar Garcia-Velasco, director general of SSA Global Technologies Latinoamerica.

BPCS's advantages make it an ideal choice for manufacturers of any size: Easy configuration and maintenance, unparalleled manufacturing experience, robust functionality for manufacturing, deep vertical domain functionality, customer-responsive development and cross-platform capability. The solution is used by the world's largest companies, including TYCO International Ltd., Monsanto, and many Fortune 500 companies.

SSA Global Technologies operates in more than 70 countries and has more than 6,000 clients and 1.5 million users.

For more information, please contact the Latin America headquarters office in Mexico at 525-545-8261; fax: 525-531-4600; web site: www.ssagt.com.mx. For Brazil, call 5511-5189-6800, or see www.ssagt.com.br. E-mail: atorre@ssax.com.

CRM: Delivering 'high-touch' solutions to Latin America

For Latin American businesses, a combination of "high-tech" and "high-touch" strategies offers an ideal way to build relationships with their customers. They also understand that improving customer loyalty and retention is one of the best approaches for improving profitability in a fiercely competitive world.

Throughout the region, a growing number of organizations are choosing to implement customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to better understand their customers, to target their best marketing prospects and to deliver more personalized "high-touch" service that sets them apart from the competition.

"Studies from the early 1990s show a small increase in retention can greatly increase profitability," said Betsy Wood, eBusiness Solutions representative for Nortel Networks. "The longer a customer stays with a business, the more profitable the customer will be."

The U.S. research firm IDC Latin America recently surveyed large companies in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, where it found that about 10 percent have already implemented a CRM solution, while another 10 percent are in the process of doing so. The survey also found that almost 20 percent of businesses of all sizes are currently evaluating purchasing a CRM solution.

"In Latin America, the concept of CRM as a software-based automation tool has only recently emerged from the shadows of the back-office enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market," said Rebecca Wilson, senior analyst with IDC Latin America.

Growth of CRM solutions in Latin America is in line with global trends. A recent report by the consulting firm eMarketer reveals that worldwide spending on customer relationship management (CRM) systems will grow to US$10.4 billion by the end of this year, a 167 percent increase from the $3.9 billion spent in 2000.

"It is clear that companies are following through on their CRM implementations," said Steve Butler, senior analyst at eMarketer. "It makes sense from a financial standpoint, as the cost of acquiring a new customer can be as much as five times the cost of holding on to an old customer."

Traditional business units adopting CRM solutions include sales, marketing and customer service. However, a complete CRM solution integrates all channels of customer interaction, giving the customer the power to choose how he or she wants to conduct business, according to Mat Brogie, director of CRM practice, Butler Technology/Infront Solutions in Providence, R.I.

"CRM is a proactive approach that helps companies interact better with their customers on many levels, from purchases to payments to support," he said. "A complete CRM solution is very broad and often includes a customer call or contact center, as well as automated marketing solutions."

The benefits of CRM include greater sales efficiency, higher customer satisfaction and enhanced revenue, he added. For example, a CRM system enables a mobile sales person to check on a customer's order status using a laptop or hand-held device before calling on an account.

The technology components of a CRM solution may include:

* Sales force automation, helping to manage and coordinate sales efforts and bring corporate knowledge about clients to the sales team.

* Call center applications, making representatives more effective in handling customer interactions by delivering pertinent information and communication to the right place at the right time.

* Automatic marketing systems, which leverage the power of data analysis to increase effectiveness.

* Customer database management and mining, which illuminate previously hidden relationships.

* Customer profiling systems that allow organizations to deliver individualized products, service and support.

* Web personalization and content management, including dynamic web marketing.

"One of the best things a CRM system brings to an organization is knowing what's right or wrong with an account," Brogie said. "But that's only the beginning for these powerful solutions."

The eMarketer report shows that many businesses worldwide are focusing upon the integration of telephony and Internet-based customer service channels as their top CRM priority.

According to Wood, that type of CRM solution allows organizations to provide fast, friendly, knowledgeable and efficient service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Equally important, it lets customers receive a consistent response regardless of whether they contact the organization by phone, fax, e-mail or web.

"The ability to give customers anywhere, anytime service using their media of choice is crucial for a CRM solution," she said "Even the same customer will use different media at different times."

The end result of a successful CRM implementation will be the creation of a smarter, more agile business. "Ultimately, your CRM vision may include integrating front office to the back office, as well as offering customers a choice in media," she said. "Once you have determined your vision, everything you do should take you along that process to get there."

Companies get caught up in technology, she added, but that's only about 15 percent of the total time and effort. "You need to have buy-in from top management, then perhaps create a cross-functional team. There are issues in training and hiring and how to manage the change to CRM. Finally, there are control and guideline issues that also must be addressed."

The ultimate benefits are worth the investment. "Most customers exhibit a proclivity to loyalty," Wood said. "If you extend your CRM across your enterprise, this will reinforce this natural loyalty and make customers feel cared for. That is truly a business imperative for the 21st century."

PeopleSoft launches next generation CRM solution

With the launch of PeopleSoft 8 Customer Relationship Management, PeopleSoft Inc. has become the first and only company to offer a CRM solution that runs entirely on the Internet. PeopleSoft's breakthrough CRM solution includes sales, marketing, field service, help desk, interaction management and support applications with embedded analytics, and seamless integration of enterprise data and business processes.

"No other vendor can offer customers this level of access and collaboration in a CRM solution," said Craig Conway, PeopleSoft president and CEO, who is widely credited with transforming the company into a global leader for customer relationship management solutions.

"Organizations have to transform themselves into collaborative enterprises, re-engineering their processes to build a collaborative network and dramatically improve profitability," said Martin Mackay, vice president, international marketing and alliances.

With business partners like PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and IBM, PeopleSoft is set for the next stage of international growth. PeopleSoft is targeting financial, telecom, government and professional services, as well as other vertical markets, Its clients include 24 of the top 25 U.S. banks.

"Latin America is an extremely important market for us," said Guy Dubois, executive vice president. With an estimated 70 percent CRM market share in Latin America, PeopleSoft is widely recognized in the region for offering, easy-to-use, intuitive solutions.

"What we're finding in Latin America is that PeopleSoft solutions are part of a necessary investment to overcome economic problems in order to make themselves more effective," Mackay said. "Our market in Latin America enjoyed a 53 percent growth rate last year."

PeopleSoft Inc. (NASDAQ: PSFT) is a world leader in providing eBusiness applications that enable people customers, suppliers, and employees -- to power the Internet. More than 4,700 organizations in 107 countries run on PeopleSoft eBusiness applications. For more information, visit www.peoplesoft.com.

Five steps to implementing a CRM solution

1. Understand the business vision. Planning is key to successful implementation of a CRM project.

2. Be sure to include all constituents, including end users, in the planning process.

3. Avoid "big" definitions for the project. It's better to create a series of smaller projects that can be completed in months, than to tackle a major multi-year implementation.

4. Look for quick wins. That provides momentum to move forward.

5. Start with a small pilot project and expand, such as web-enabled call center. Find a natural launching point with your current system.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Freedom Magazines, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Latin Trade
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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